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date: 21 September 2020

Greenhow, Rose O’Neallocked

(1815?–01 October 1864)
  • Phyllis F. Field


Greenhow, Rose O’Neal (1815?–01 October 1864), Confederate spy, was born in Montgomery County, Maryland. Many O’Neals, their surnames variously spelled, inhabited the area. Speculation centers on a planter, John O’Neale, slain by a slave in 1817, and his wife, Eliza Henrietta (maiden name unknown), as her parents. In early adolescence she and a sister went to Washington, D.C., to live with an aunt, Mrs. H. V. Hill, who managed a popular boardinghouse on Capitol Hill. There she was tutored in the social graces as well as academic subjects and met many of the nation’s powerful. Darkly beautiful, vivacious, and quick-witted, she was very popular and dubbed “Wild Rose.” The boarder she admired most was ...

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